LONDON – British public-sector health workers should receive an annual pay rise of 4-5% this year, a government advisory body plans to recommend, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday.
Surging consumer price inflation, which hit a 40-year high of 9.1% in May, means workers are pushing for bigger than normal pay rises, and there have been widespread strikes in Britain’s privately operated rail industry over the past week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said pay restraint in the public sector is needed to save money and reduce the risk of a longer-term inflationary spiral.
Average pay excluding bonuses in the public sector in the three months to April was up by an annual 1.8%, compared with 4.8% in the private sector, official figures show.
The Guardian said the National Health Service Pay Review Body – a panel that makes annual pay recommendations to the government – would recommend an increase of “somewhere between 4% and 5%”.
The body, which normally makes its annual recommendation in July, did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Last year it proposed a 3% pay rise, which the government accepted.
It recommendations cover most staff other than doctors, dentists and senior managers in Britain’s National Health Service, totalling almost 1.5 million workers.
In a submission to the review body in February, the health ministry said it had a fixed budget to last until 2025, and that there were “stark trade-offs between pay and other NHS spending” such as staffing levels and medical equipment.
($1 = 0.8155 pounds)
(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by John Stonestreet)